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The first meal was an object lesson of much variety. My father produced several kinds of food, ready to eat, without any cooking, from little tin cans that had printing all over them.
The czar was always sending us commands - you shall not do this and you shall not do that - till there was very little left that we might do, except pay tribute and die.
The czar always got his dues, no matter if it ruined a family.
The apex of my civic pride and personal contentment was reached on the bright September morning when I entered the public school.
Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.
One positive command he gave us: You shall love and honor your emperor. In every congregation a prayer must be said for the czar's health, or the chief of police would close the synagogue.
On a royal birthday every house must fly a flag, or the owner would be dragged to a police station and be fined twenty-five rubles.
No, the czar did not want us in the schools.
In the evening of the first day my father conducted us to the public baths.
If education, culture, the higher life were shining things to be worshiped from afar, he had still a means left whereby he could draw one step nearer to them.
His struggle for a bare living left him no time to take advantage of the public evening school. In time he learned to read, to follow a conversation or lecture; but he never learned to write correctly; and his pronunciation remains extremely foreign to this day.
As we moved along in a little procession, I was delighted with the illumination of the streets. So many lamps, and they burned until morning, my father said, and so people did not need to carry lanterns.
Being A Girl
Best Mothers Day
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